The growing impact of lithium-ion power in the traditional lead acid traction market could be seen last week at Modex in Atlanta— a major US supply chain trade fair.
Exide, one of the USA’s big four and predominantly lead-acid makes, launched a lithium-ion battery aimed the forklift and autonomous guided vehicle market while Navitas announced a lithium-ion deal with Hyster— one of the largest global players in materials handling equipment.
Canadian battery maker Electrovaya said it has won a further lithium-ion ceramic forklift battery purchase order worth CAD214,000 ($167,000) from a leading company.
The order is the second from a purchaser who is one of five US Fortune 500 companies to have already issued orders for the drop-in replacement batteries, Electrovaya said.
Forklift truck and battery manufacturer Jungheinrich has received an order for more than 1,000 lithium-ion vehicles.
The German firm hails it as “the largest order ever awarded for vehicles fitted with lithium-ion batteries anywhere in the world”.
US-based Flux Power has gone into commercial production of its forklift batteries just months after achieving approval from Underwriters Laboratories.
Flux Power aims to assemble 100 packs a month by the end of the summer, and to double that by the end of 2016.
The firm’s Light EV battery packs for Class III pallet jack forklifts, or “walkies”, were listed to UL 2271 certification in February and were designed to replace lead-acid in forklift trucks.
Flux CEO Ron Dutt said there would be a particular focus on ’30 large customer prospects that have already piloted and/or purchased earlier generation LiFT Pack units’.
"Collectively these customers utilise an estimated 22,000 walkie pallet jacks nationwide and therefore represent aggregate sales potential of over $65 million in walkie LiFT Pack units alone,” he said.
“Based on this... we are confident in our ability to achieve LiFT Pack sales of between $3 and $6 million over the next 12 months.”